CLEO (Malaysia) - - LOVE TALK -

Ru­mour has it, Tay­lor Swift never ap­proved of Se­lena Gomez dat­ing Justin Bieber. But when pic­tures of her stick­ing out her tongue as Gomez gave Bieber a kiss at the Bill­board Mu­sic Awards went vi­ral, it was clear she was not a Be­lieber.

Sure, our friend’s part­ners might not wear gas masks in pub­lic or write se­ri­ously in­ap­pro­pri­ate things at the Anne Frank House (we hope not, at least!), but we’ve all had our fair share of eye-rolling mo­ments when it comes to our BFF’s BF. But be­fore you show your bla­tant dis­dain, ask your­self th­ese ques­tions. There are many rea­sons why peo­ple get at­tached, and not all of them in­volve stay­ing to­gether for­ever and ever. If she’s in it for the fun, leave things be. Why risk hurt­ing her feel­ings when the re­la­tion­ship is go­ing to be short-lived? Re­gard it the same way you would if your friend were to spend a for­tune on what you think is a re­ally ugly bag – you know it’s not that her taste is bad. It’s that we all have our mo­ments of weak­ness. Some day she’ll re­gret it, and the two of you will have a good laugh when that day comes. You know how some proud par­ents never think any­one is good enough to date their chil­dren? Some­times, we can be that over­pro­tec­tive (and an­noy­ing) fig­ure in our friend’s life who think they can do bet­ter. While your in­ten­tions are good, you need to re­alise two things. Firstly, your ex­pec­ta­tions are unattain­able – the thing about “do­ing bet­ter” is that you truly can al­ways do bet­ter. Se­condly, you need to re­spect your friend’s de­ci­sions. Con­stantly ques­tion­ing her de­ci­sions as­sumes she is too dumb to think for her­self – and that’s a real good recipe for re­sent­ment. There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween a guy who’s ver­bally abu­sive and one who has an an­noy­ing laugh. The for­mer is toxic while the lat­ter is most likely your pet peeve. You’re en­ti­tled to your peeves but you’re not en­ti­tled to share your views with your friend when it comes to her boyfriend. You might want the best for her, but what you de­fine as best might not be what she’s af­ter. In other words, you’re not the au­thor­ity on what another per­son needs.


To en­sure you’re not over­step­ping bound­aries, ob­jec­tively as­sess the dam­age your friend’s boyfriend is do­ing to her. You have grounds for real con­cern if he’s in any way un­healthy for her men­tal or phys­i­cal well-be­ing. But even in that case, your role is not to judge her re­la­tion­ship. Peo­ple don’t stay in toxic re­la­tion­ships be­cause they’re masochis­tic – in most cases, it’s be­cause of deepseated is­sues like a fear of be­ing alone. By rid­ing your high horse with “Dump him” ban­ners blaz­ing, you’re sim­pli­fy­ing the prob­lem, and risk alien­at­ing your friend. Rather, help her see the harm it’s do­ing to her. Psy­chol­o­gist Dr. Jonathan Fader sug­gests ask­ing your friend ques­tions that will help drive home the rea­sons why the re­la­tion­ship is toxic, such as “Why do you want to stay?” or “What will your next five years be like if you stay?”. “Get­ting them to say it can be much more pow­er­ful than you telling them what’s wrong,” he ad­vises.


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